Friday, March 28, 2008

A New Hen?

Two weeks ago my mom unexpectedly bought us a laying hen to keep our other hen company.  She got an 8-month-old Black Australorp from a flea market, and was assured that the hen had laid an egg that very day.   We had a little trouble introducing the new hen, which the kids named ‘Popo’, as she didn’t like to stay in our yard and kept escaping to the woods.  However, she eventually settled down, but she never did start laying.  The kids also noticed that she made strange sounds, different from our other hen.

Well, yesterday while we were getting ready in the morning my husband informed me that our "hen" was crowing.  I poo-pooed his observation, reminding him that she always had made odd sounds.  But later that morning, with the kitchen window open, I heard a flat out, clear-as-a-bell "cock-a-doodle-doo."  I have it on good authority that hens don’t crow, so it seems clear that we have a rooster who just reached puberty (and is not yet nearly 8 months old)!  Goodbye Popo; hello Alexander the Great!

The chickens had already been providing excellent opportunities for nature study, even to following the actual lessons in Handbook of Nature Study.  Now we are able to observe the remarkable, almost instantaneous changes in our rooster’s appearance and behavior.  Yesterday, when our rooster was mounting the hen, we got a whole new area of lesson, and I’m pretty sure our hen (who’s never been around other chickens) was taken by surprise!

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